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16 and Pregnant Discussion Guides

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy Is a Fan of 16 and Pregnant — Are You?


If you glance at a newsstand, you know MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom are fodder for the tabloids, but do the teen-pregnancy reality shows also make good teaching material? The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy thinks so. Considering the popularity of the show, the group believes adults who work with teens should use 16 and Pregnant as a learning tool. They've created discussion guides along with MTV and StayTeen.org to help.

According to The National Campaign's research, 82 percent of teens think the show helps them better understand the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood, while 15 percent think it glamorizes teen pregnancy. At the sex::tech conference in San Francisco last weekend, producers of the show, as well as representatives from The National Campaign, discussed what they think are the benefits of the show, in front of a skeptical audience. MTV producer Dia Sokol Savage called herself an "inadvertent activist" against teen pregnancy, while producer Morgan J. Freeman avoided an audience question about how much the teen mom stars are paid.

Find out more about how the show is used for sex ed, when you keep reading.

The National Campaign concedes MTV creates the show for entertainment with the goal of getting good ratings. But the fact the show has reached so many teens means more are using it as a conversation starter. At the panel, a rep for The National Campaign said: "This is really relevant to the kids. This is a show they've watched on their own." Since the show already has their attention, The National Campaign believes it's a great tool for sex ed. The discussion guides they've created for educators help teens take a critical look at the show, and include an episode summary, "stuff to think about and discuss," and startling facts about teen pregnancy, as well as resources for contraception.

While this sounds like a sex ed class that would catch teens' attention, it's definitely not the only message they get from 16 and Pregnant. The "stars" of the show are now pseudo-celebrities, and it's hard not to see how the show glamorizes teen pregnancy to a degree thanks to that. That message may be more powerful than any discussion guide.

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Join The Conversation
lizlee89 lizlee89 4 years
ok, part of my comment does not make sense. here's what it should have said. They are almost completely governed by their emotions and impulses, and I believe that, just like constantly watching tv shows and movies which promote a casual attitude toward sex, violence, drinking, and drug use, SHOWS LIKE THESE will invariably influence them to turn to these harmful behaviors.
lizlee89 lizlee89 4 years
ok, part of my comment does not make sense. here's what it should have said.They are almost completely governed by their emotions and impulses, and I believe that, just like constantly watching tv shows and movies which promote a casual attitude toward sex, violence, drinking, and drug use, SHOWS LIKE THESE will invariably influence them to turn to these harmful behaviors.
lizlee89 lizlee89 4 years
I have never seen the show and I do not plan to, but I have worked with teenagers and I have enough experience to know that they, particularly now-a-days, are very easily manipulated. They are almost completely governed by their emotions and impulses, and I believe that, just like constantly watching tv shows and movies which promote a casual attitude toward sex, violence, drinking, and drug use will invariably influence them to turn to these harmful behaviors. it can't be a coincidence that in the last four decades (70's-00's) a greater inclusion of these things in media and teen pregnancy (as well as teens engaging in them) have both increased...
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 4 years
I think that the people who think it glamorizes teen pregnancy have seen them on US Weekly but never watched the show. The show is pretty unflinching about how sad and hard their lives are!
dreejay dreejay 4 years
I think that all of the MTV teen mother shows are a great birth control, so to speak. There is never really a moment, at least that I have seen, that seems to encourage teen pregnancy. Instead it shows the struggles that the parents have to face, and yes, a lot of those struggles seem to be legal!
mixedpie mixedpie 4 years
I agree, it's definitely an addicting show!I don't know what the stats are, but I assume that it decreases teen pregnancy (or at least I hope so). Given that the girls from the first season all have had legal action taken against them pretty much for some reason or another.
mixedpie mixedpie 4 years
I agree, it's definitely an addicting show! I don't know what the stats are, but I assume that it decreases teen pregnancy (or at least I hope so). Given that the girls from the first season all have had legal action taken against them pretty much for some reason or another.
amber512 amber512 4 years
I think it's sad....and entirely too addictive to watch.
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